Category Archives: Pipeline Route

Wilson County NC Voices Concern Over “Development Dead Zone”

The October 17, 2017 Wilson Times reports that “”Wilson County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for Atlantic Coast Pipeline officials to be more transparent in their dealings with property owners and local government when it comes to development and safety issues. Commissioners expressed reservations on several issues related to the pipeline project and its officials Tuesday, including a ‘development dead zone’ in Wilson County, full and complete disclosures and transparency in project planners’ dealings with property owners and the pipeline’s quality of construction and safety.

“Commissioner say ACP officials failed to inform property owners or local government that there is an ‘industry [effort] to create a “consultation planning zone” which extends 660 feet from the center of any high pressure natural gas pipeline,’ according to the resolution. The purpose of the zone or corridor is to ‘restrict development’ within those parameters for the ‘lifetime of the pipeline,’ the resolution states.

“Property owners within that zone have not been offered compensation for restrictions placed on their property outside of the construction and permanent easements, commissioners said. They say these types of development restrictions will severely affect the value of land and property owned by county residents. That planning zone, according to the resolution, would create a ‘development dead zone’ 1,300 feet wide by 12 miles long running through the heart of western Wilson County. And that would lower property values and ‘adversely affect’ both residents and Wilson County as a whole.”

Read the full article here.

The People’s Tribunal

The People’s Tribunal on human rights, environmental justice, and the impacts of fracked gas infrastructure will be held on Saturday October 28, 2017, 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., at City Space, 100 5th Street NE., Charlottesville, VA.

While many know about the environmental hazards of fracked natural gas pipelines, few people know who is being forced to give up their human rights to clean air, water, and soil for the economic benefit of corporate stockholders. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) routes target rural, poor, African American, Native American, and Appalachian communities from West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina to bear the disproportionate burden of their toxic, polluting fracked natural gas infrastructure.

A people’s tribunal creates a public forum to present evidence for and information about issues critical to a just and civil society, especially when local, state, and federal governments are not responsive to public concerns. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Human Rights Impacts of Fracking call on member nations to:

“Undertake independent and effective investigation into all cases of environmentally polluting activities and their impacts on the rights of affected communities; bring those responsible to account; and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.”

Experts in the fields of environmental and medical science, environmental justice, Virginia Slave and Freedmen, Native American and Appalachian history, and fracked gas economics will preside as Judges to hear first-person impacts and expert testimonies. Judges’ findings and recommendations will be sent to these human rights committees and will form the basis around which local groups can organize.

Who is at risk?

  • Union Hill in Buckingham, Virginia is an 85% African American community built by Freedmen. White descendants of former plantation owners sold their land to the ACP LLC where the only Virginia megacompressor station is to be built, within 150 ft. of households in this populous minority community. Compressor stations pose documented health and safety risks with their release of highly toxic gas emissions, air-borne particulates, and continuous noise pollution.
  • The area in West VA where the MVP & ACP jumbo pipelines begin will be replete with (more) compressor stations, metering stations, extraction plants, cryogenic plants, and soon, cracker plants and more fracking than ever. West Virginians are the source colony, yet they get little attention or help.
  • Across the U.S., new pipelines leak, break, and explode more often than even those 40 years old, causing permanent well-water, stream and river contamination, and destruction of property and its value, a nightmare for those unlucky to live in their path. Landowners along the ACP and MVP are coerced by threats of eminent domain to give up their property rights and live with these risks. Several Native American communities are directly impacted and all proposed routes were once Native American lands.

For more information, including the list of sponsoring organizations, see the People’s Tribunal flyer here.

The Tribunal Registration Form is here.

The Tribunal Testimony Sign-Up Form is here.

ACP Expansion Into South Carolina

Dan Weekley, Dominion Energy’s vice president and general manager of Southern pipeline operations, told attendees at a recent energy conference ‘everybody knows’ the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — currently slated to pass through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina — is not going to stop there, despite what the current plans say, and that it will be extended into South Carolina. (See our story below)

On September 30, 2017, Blue Virginia discussed the revelation (Dominion’s Lie About Atlantic Coast Pipeline Caught on Tape: How will Terry McAuliffe and DEQ Respond?) and discussed the math: “Dominion’s vice president in charge of Southern pipeline development has just admitted that two thirds of the natural gas that allegedly was “needed” in Virginia may actually go to South Carolina. How much of the rest will go to North Carolina? How much will be exported? The answers to these questions are not clear because the data comes from Dominion and Dominion has lied. And now they’ve been caught.”

Additional questions: “Will McAuliffe’s DEQ require Dominion to explain why its official filings have now been contradicted by Dominion’s own chief of Southern pipeline operations? Will other Virginia political leaders – and candidates – who have thus far stayed silent, allow Dominion’s latest lie to go unanswered? Will Attorney General Mark Herring open an investigation into what Dominion said in its public filings with a state agency and whether they were truthful?”

On October 4, 2017, WUNC aired a 12-minute audio segment in which host Frank Stasio speaks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Lauren Ohnesorge, and Ryan Emanuel, professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, an enrolled member of Lumbee Tribe, and a member of the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs Environmental Justice Committee Member about the economic and cultural impact of the potential expansion beyond North Carolina.

Also on October 4, the Roanoke Times published a story on ways in which the expansion to South Carolina might change things in Virginia.  Greg Buppert, lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center, says the talk of expansion “underscores this issue that we’ve been focusing on: that there’s not demand for new gas-fired power plants in Virginia or North Carolina that will justify the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  That sounds like companies looking for a market for their products because the market they’ve been banking on isn’t materializing.”

What Else Is Dominion Not Telling Us?

AP broke the news on September 29, 2017, that “Dan Weekley, Dominion Energy’s vice president and general manager of Southern pipeline operations, told attendees at a recent energy conference ‘everybody knows’ the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — currently slated to pass through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina — is not going to stop there, despite what the current plans say,” and that it will be extended into South Carolina. What other important information has Dominion withheld from the public about this proposed – and unneeded – pipeline?

Thomas Hadwin, who worked for electric and gas utilities in Michigan and New York for many years, has written extensively about the lack of need for the ACP (as well as its massive cost that will be paid by Dominion customers). He commented on the revelations that Dominion assumes expansion, saying, “This is not about the need for more gas, just as the ACP in Virginia and North Carolina is not about the need for more gas. Irene is correct. It is about a long term stream of revenues going to the pipeline owners, the utility holding companies. The actual project return is 15% for the ACP (14% is for the equity portion of the financing).

“South Carolina is served by the Transco pipeline, as is Virginia and North Carolina. This pipeline has more available capacity than the ACP and will transport the gas at a far lower rate than the ACP because it has been mostly paid for by previous customers. The natural gas transmission system that Dominion Energy purchased a few years ago in South Carolina receives its supply from Transco. All of SC can continue to be supplied from Transco, but the ACP owners want that businesses because they have reduced the number of major gas-consuming power plants they think they need in Virginia and North Carolina by 50% in the past few years because of declining load growth. They want to have the ratepayers in SC pay much more to transport the gas so they can use more of the capacity of the very expensive and unnecessary ACP.”

See here for comments on the expansion by landowners and Bold Alliance.

What else is Dominion hiding from the public?

Watch Out for Chain Saws

A story in the Roanoke Times on September 28, 2017, tells us that both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines want to start clearing trees from their proposed construction rights-of-way in mid-November 2017. They need to suspend tree clearing after March 31 to comply with federal conservation guidelines tied to potential impacts on the Indiana bat, a federally endangered species, and the northern long-eared bat, a threatened species. Also, restricting tree clearing to the period from mid-November to the end of March protects some species of migratory birds that nest during other months of the year.

If there is a delay, the chainsaws and other clearing equipment might have to wait until November 2018 to start work. Both proposed pipelines plan to clear all vegetation from a temporary construction right-of-way that would be 125 feet wide in most terrain. The permanently treeless rights-of-way would be 50 feet in most places.

Blast Zone

Blast Zone – Natural Gas and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Causes, Consequences and Civic Action is a new report from the Rachel Carson Council. In addition to naming and exploring the economic and political systems underlying fracking and the ACP, Blast Zone highlights organizations, businesses, and campuses working in interconnected ways toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the source, restoring equity, and putting decision-making in the hands of communities.

The report discusses:

  • Natural gas: current and future trends (including the “bridge fuel” myth)
  • Fracking in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Basins
  • The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (including the power behind it, industry motives, what’s paving the way, and the ACP and the environment)

And the report includes an entire set of “Toolboxes” for fighting the ACP:

  • Policy Toolbox: Our Power Plan
  • Housing Toolbox: Efficient, Affordable, Durable Investments
  • Voter’s Toolbox: Supporting Fossil-Free Leaders
  • Campus Toolbox: Research and Advocacy for the Public Interest
  • Advocacy Toolbox: Eliminating Fracking Dangers
  • Financial Toolbox: Divest and Reinvest
  • Property Rights Toolbox: Challenging Eminent Domain
  • Lobbying Toolbox: Re-envisioning FERC
  • Policy Toolbox: Water Quality Permits
  • Civil Rights Toolbox: Driving Racial and Social Justice
  • Direct Action and Advocacy Toolbox

Easily understandable graphs and charts, along with photographs (many you’ll recognize) help to make the points in this clear and thoughtful report.